Worst DJ Ever (In Which I, of All People, Lose Control of the Music)

I was once known to tell a friend that I couldn’t wait to get married because that was the day I would have full control of a DJ. This was before the days of iTunes, which lets you sound-track your own parties (and life) with fabulous playlists.

Music is of huge import to me, and having a great DJ at Mr. Glib’s and my wedding was largely expected. When it came to the food, the flowers, even the dress, I was Miss Easygoing.  The only flicker of “Bridezilla” tendencies surrounded the music. I didn’t want a band; I wanted to be able to hear the original songs. So I booked a friend of a friend … who moved to North Carolina four weeks before our wedding date and sent in a replacement.

Let me back up. About four months before my wedding, my younger brother Tyler (my only sibling) was killed in an accident involving a train. Obviously, this was beyond horrible, and while the wedding gave the family a chance to reunite again soon for a gathering that was happy, the wounds were still very raw.

So one week before the wedding, the DJ and I speak to outline the basics: first dance song, bouquet-toss song, parent dances (or lack thereof), and the do-not-play list. We have the following conversation:

LG: And this … this is imperative. I cannot express this enough. Under no circumstance, I don’t care who requests it, DO NOT PLAY “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” by David Allan Coe.

DJ: Oh..kay. Mind if I ask why?

LG:  Ummm, well (thinking it is none of his business, but whatever), my brother was hit by a train and killed a few months ago and there is that “train” lyric in that song, and I really don’t want to be upset or have my parents upset in the middle of our wedding reception.

DJ: Oh, wow, so sorry to hear that,

LG: :nervous laugh: Thanks … so, yeah, just leave that track at home …

Four days before the wedding (that’s three days after the above conversation, folks), we talk again.

DJ: Okay, so I’ve got “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” down for your mother/son dance.

FIRST OF ALL. Did you not remember the gruesome story I told you 72 HOURS prior?  Second of all, you also clearly forgot that we are not doing “parent” dances. Third of all, what an awesome mother/son dance song that would be: “I got drunk the day Mom got out of prison…”

Should have fired him on the spot and set up a boom box full of cassingles.

So I put my bridesmaids and best friends on high alert (Molly almost kyboshed “Family Tradition” when it started, hearing the first few measures of a country song that was semi-old) and sure enough, David Allan Coe didn’t make an appearance.

Neither did, however, 3/4ths of the music I’d provided for this DJ to play. Oh, yes, that’s the other part of the story. I’d designed my own night of music, with more than enough tunes – in order – for dinner plus dancing. He simply ignored all of the “dancing” CDs (which he then stole).

Instead of opening up the dance floor with Mr. Glib’s and my song (“I Want You to Want Me”), he played “Mustang Sally.” Frank Sinatra (whom I hate – sorry Grandmom) made more than one appearance. Grease megamix? Hell to the yes.  The eight-minutes long “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” which cleared the dance floor utterly?  Why, of course!

Not until 20 minutes before the reception’s conclusion did my friend Anne threaten the DJ with bodily harm, forcing him to crack the jewel case on (one of) the CDs I’d so carefully made. I believe five of my songs were played.

I’m not bitter about this at all anymore…

Had Yelp existed at the time, this narrative and more would have been posted. At this point, I can just hope he left the business. And took his “Mustang Sally” right along with him.

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Everybody Cut Footloose (In Which I Discuss Wedding DJs In General)

Yesterday, some friends and I headed about an hour east, a bit past Gary, Indiana (not Louisiana, Paris, France, New York, or Rome … or even Allentown), to attend the wedding of our friends Tina and Ben. For mid-October, the weather couldn’t have been better, and they made a beautiful and happy couple:

Flowers were gorgeous, food was good, drinks were flowing, and a good time was had by the large and diverse crowd.  Tina and Ben’s happy occasion gave me the opportunity, however, to reacquaint myself with the rock-snob side of my personality.

Being a wedding DJ is tough … I get it.  You have to balance the following: keeping the dance floor crowded; pleasing the couple and the wedding party; keeping things appropriate for the kids and elderly; throwing in some new tunes; using but not abusing some standards; slowing things down when needed.

No one can ever succeed 100%; in every wedding crowd there are those who squeal when hearing a nasal Fred Schenieder kick off “Love Shack” or who will fully commit to dancing to the entire Grease Megamix (a composition that haunts me in my dreams).  (How is this song only 4:50?  I thought sure it topped seven minutes, with ease).  And in every wedding crowd there are those who long for just a bit of ingenuity (ingenuity that can backfire if the dance floor clears).

Nope, I don’t envy the role of the wedding DJ (even though I frequently claim I could do better).

Last night’s DJ tried to engage the crowd – a soul train, more than one line-dance number, and a forced partnering wherein wedding guests from either side of the room “busted their best moves” (the DJs own words) through the artificial bridge of other would-be dancers.  You know the drill. Sort of hoe-down style, but paced to Usher’s “Yeah!”

I – of course – got paired with a very animated 14-year old who bootie-shook and pelvic-thrusted and heaved her way through the crowd, while I awkwardly pantomimed “Take that … rewind it back” four times in a row (thank you, Ludacris).  Yes, it’s on videotape somewhere.  I’m sure the 14-year-old’s kid will enjoy watching it someday … in two or three years.

But all in all, he did a fine job.  A little “Footloose,” a little Gaga, Miley, and Katy, and some bizarre acoustical renderings of classic-rock favorites at the dinner hour (including the weirdest – and worst – “Free Fallin'” you can imagine).

Whenever I’m enjoying watching (or criticizing) a wedding DJ at his or her craft, however, I’m reminded of my own experience.  When I was the bride and lost utter control of the DJ I’d supposedly hired to protect me from such travesties as “The Cha Cha Slide.”  But this is a story for another day (tomorrow, I hope) because this post is already 500-plus words long and I don’t want y’all getting greedy.

Random low-quality dance Floor Shot:  (A), not sure why Justin hopped in the picture of “[Our Company] Ladies.”  (B), not sure why I’m the only one not possessed by the spirit of the Total Eclipse of the Heart video.  Further evidence, I suppose, that I’m lacking a soul. Note the emo kids in the background unimpressed by the lack of Sum 41 songs, and the barefoot dancer in the right-hand side of the picture.

Cheers, all.  Until tomorrow …